Ex-Cop Says He's Eligible, a 'Lock' for Council Run
Disqualified for the temporary appointment to the vacant council seat, former BOE member Louis Valori isn't giving up.
Dr. Louis Valori announced Monday that he will run for the unexpired term Township Council seat in the November election. And he is confident that he will receive the Republican Municipal Committee's nod at its Aug. 27 meeting to run. Again.
"I have this; I am saying it up front," he told Patch. "The committee chose me [in June] to put the party in the right direction. I will win the committee vote. I have Jim Vigilante's full endorsement. Milin Shah, the mayor's original choice, said he'll support me 100 percent.
"I am a lock."
This contradicts what was said June 27.
On that day, Valori, a retired Parsippany Police officer, fully expected to win the appointment to fill Freeholder John Cesaro's vacated council seat. Of the three names placed before the body by the GOP committee, Valori had received the most support.
But two hours before the council meeting, Valori received a call from Township Attorney John Inglesino saying that because he is on what is known as "terminal leave" from the PPD—he officially is using up accumulated time off—he is considered a township employee until Oct. 1.
An angry Valori made it known that he thought the incident was unfair, but he said that rather than launch a fight immediately, he decided to go forward with a planned family vacation to Italy.
Upon his return, he was ready to do battle.
"I realized that what Inglesino said was just his opinion," he said. "So I paid for my own attorney, who I don't want to reveal because of possible political reprisal against him, and had him research this for me."
That lawyer's determination?
"I am eligible," said Valori. "My attorney provided me with a legal memorandum—about 50 pages—on why I'm eligible to run."
He said he gave the news to Morris County Republican Chairman John Sette; Assemblyman Anthony Bucco, the county attorney; and Nicole C. Green, the chairwoman of the Parsippany GOP.
Valori said Green said that the determination of eligibility rested with the township, not with Morris County. For Parsippany's part, Valori said he was told by the committee chairwoman that Inglesino still was researching the matter, but that since the attorney was on vacation, that opinion would not be rendered until Aug. 13.
"Inglesino called me today and said, 'I heard you have a legal opinion,'" Valori said, adding that the town's lawyer asked for the name of the attorney and for a copy of the opinion.
On the advice of his attorney, accordig to Valori, he refused.
"Clearly, [the June disqualification] was about politics," Valori said he told Inglesino. "'You called me two hours before the meeting. I was embarrassed in front of my family and friends. There's no trust on my part for you guys.'"
He added that he would not reveal the information because of "attorney-client privilege."
"And as far as my eligibility, look at the case of [Assemblywoman] BettyLou DeCroce," said Valori. "She was a state employee when she was appointed to the General Assembly and she stepped down before she was sworn in.
"I'm not doing anything illegal, but it seems as if the Township Attorney is trying to do a delay tactic," he said, adding that he was still waiting for Inglesino to render a second opinion.
The attorney told Patch that his opinion will come down sometime this week.
"I did my due diligence," Valori said. "I will provide the memo at the committee meeting when I run for that council seat."
Valori said he is confident he will prevail and that those who supported him before will do so again. And he charged that the only reason he is not in the council seat now is because Mayor James Barberio "circumvented the system [so as] not to pick me."
"They didn't want to see Jimmy Vigilante, me or Julie Carifi," he said, referring to the three names the GOP committee recommended to the council for the vacant seat. "They've made this political from the get-go."
Mayor Barberio did not respond to Patch's request for comment.
Milin Shah at the time was widely believed to be the mayor's choice.
"Milin and I are on good terms," Valori said. "He's assured me that he will not run."
For his part, Shah told Patch that he will support Valori 100 percent—if he earns the committee's nomination.
"I don't want anyone to get ahead of himself, but yes, I gave Louie my word that I will not run," he said. "If he is the nominee, and he is confident that he will be, I will support him 110 percent. But I have no idea what's going to happen. There are a lot of personalities [involved]."
Shah, a Republican who once was a Democrat, added that he supports the right of anyone to run for office if they have the best interests of the town as a priority.
"[Jonathan] Nelson is a great person, so I am glad to see him run," he said. "As long as you love Parsippany and work to make it better, I have no problem."
For Democratic nominee Nelson's part, he told Patch that he welcomes Valori—or anyone else—into the race.
"Whoever the Republican candidate for council is, the fact remains that the three-year experiment of having a one-party form of government has failed miserably," he said. "Parsippany needs new leadership and a new voice."
Valori said his priority is the township and all of its residents. He pledged that his council salary would be spent on helping seniors, veterans who own small businesses and the Police Athletic League.
"I'm not doing this for personal gain," he said, clearly anxious to get his effort underway. "We are almost two months behind the eight-ball for a general election. We have an individual [Nelson] who has run before, who's highly educated and has big name recognition.
"I'm very seriously conservative—the conservative's conservative—and will be more conservative and fiscally responsible than John Cesaro was."
Freeholder Cesaro, when reached for comment, shrugged Valori's statement off as "campaign rhetoric."
"In the 6 1/2 years I had the opportunity to serve under Democrat and Republican mayors, I was very staunch about asking the hard questions and cutting spending, regardless of what department we were looking at," he said. "I challenge any person who takes my seat to continue asking the tough questions at budget time."
Valori said he intends to focus on hard questions, including how to bring businesses back into Parsippany and how to make township departments do more with less.
"We have to take the string of taxes from around the necks of the citizens in our community," he said.
Of course, he first must get the official go-ahead to run.
Even Councilman Vigilante, isn't sure what will happen.
Told that Valori is counting on his support, his best friend said, "We're friends. I support him, and he supports me, no matter what."
But he adds that he does not know if his friend is eligible to run.
"As the sitting councilman, I would expect the committee to support me," he said. "I will be putting my name before the committee on Aug. 27. We'll see what happens."
"I am not trying to cause problems for the party," Valori insisted. "But the reality is that I have support for the Aug. 27 [committee] vote. I am fully eligible for this, no ifs ands or buts."
And regarding those who say he is not eligible to run for Town Council?
"They're just giving ammunition to the Democrats."